Monday, April 22, 2013

MArooned Product Review: Kel-Tec SUB-2000


Yeah, this review is a little bit overdue. I've had the SUB-2000 for a while now, and I've really had a chance to put it through its paces. The scarcity of 9mm, though, has been the limiting factor - for the past five months I have not been able to find so much as one box. It's pretty ironic, in that one of the big reasons for choosing the 9mm variant is the (normally) easy availability of 9mm ammunition.

The SUB-2000 is immediately recognizable by the folding mechanism:


It's ingeniously simple - to open the SUB-2000, there's a sliding pin near the front sight that you pull to the rear. The carbine opens up in a couple seconds, it's really that simple. To close it, simply pull down the trigger guard (like taking down a Makarov) and it folds in half. Naturally, I had to pretend I was 007 and put it in a briefcase:


Okay, so it's not a briefcase, but you get the idea. That's case I normally use for transporting handguns, and the SUB-2000 fits even with the folding foregrip attached (that's a TFL from the Mako Group, for the curious; it arrived in a shipment with the TAL-4 grip I tested for my Shooting Illustrated article on foregrips last year). Rumors that, upon removing the SUB-2000 from the case and opening it up I was heard to exclaim, "G. Jay G. License to kill" are exaggerated...

The SUB-2000 is set up to take many common handgun magazines. The most common is the ubiquitous Glock 17, of course, as well as the 19; there's also a variant set up to take Smith & Wesson model 59 magazines (I would imagine because the P11 takes them as well) and also the Beretta 92. This particular model is set up for SIG SAUER P226 magazines, since I happen to own a P226 and quite a few pre-ban magazines for it. This allows for a great degree of customization as well as offering an excellent way to manage a pistol/carbine combination utilizing not just the same ammunition but even magazines, too.

The one adjustment I made to the SUB2000 was adding the railed forend, an accessory available from Kel-Tec, although there are other rails available (Oleg mentioned one that has a rotating section so you can still fold the SUB2000 with an optic attached. Sure wish I could remember who made it...). It attaches quickly and easily, although it could use a drop or two of Loctite, as it tends to work a little loose after a session at the range.

And speaking of the range, I was quite surprised by the performance of the SUB2000 at the range. On the pistol range at my gun club, even the 25 yard distance proved easy - only three rounds of out 15 outside of the inner 4" ring:


Yeah, at 50 feet it wasn't even a challenge - the rounds just go where you want them to. I brought the SUB2000 to Brad_in_MA's range where we put up a 10" steel plate on the 100 yard berm, and hitting that with the SUB2000 was shockingly easy - although, again, there's a slight delay between the [bang] and the [ting] that's unnerving (but certainly not the SUB2000's fault!). Even with the rudimentary sights - the front post is a clear plastic tab with a red tint; the rear sight is a small, simple peep sight. But hey, the proof is in the targets - rudimentary or not, the sights just work.

The trigger surprised me, in that it was pretty clean and smooth - my only other frame of reference for Kel-Tec triggers is my P3AT, which is, let me be charitable, less-than-pleasant. Recoil, since it's a pistol-caliber carbine, is quite manageable - keeping the SUB2000 on target even under rapid-fire shooting is very easy. It's light, works every time, and hits where you point it - basically, it does everything you want a pistol caliber carbine to do at a price that's quite reasonable (MSRP is $409).

Reliability is one area where the SUB-2000 really surprised me - in a good way. I've had good luck with my P3AT - aside from needing a little *push* to get the slide into battery once in a while, it has been very reliable with both FMJ and JHP ammunition. I fed the SUB-2000 a constant diet of bulk 115 grain FMJ and did not experience a single malfunction of any type; the only issues it had were with the Remington UMC 115 grain JHP bulk pack. Winchester White box FMJ, Remington FMJ, old Blazer Brass FMJ, Pierce FMJ; it fed every single FMJ round I put into it as well as the Federal Hi-Shoks.

In conclusion, I have to admit that I was very pleasantly surprised by the SUB-2000. It handled well, shot great, worked perfectly with most ammo, and in general did everything you'd want a pistol caliber carbine to do. It's light, low-recoil, and handy - this is something you can leave in a trunk or behind a rear seat in a pick up and have over 50 rounds at the ready (most configurations have anywhere from 15 - 20 round magazines available). While I know the argument that all pistol calibers suck from a stopping standpoint, having 15 rounds that will go into a small circle even out to 25 yards is an argument with which it is hard to argue.

Kel-Tec SUB-2000: Just as much fun as an Uzi carbine at a quarter the cost...

That is all.

17 comments:

libertyman said...

It may be very purposeful, but it still looks like a bumper jack.

Mopar said...

I've wanted one since they came out. Now, I'll have to move out of the Unconstitutional State before I can own one.

ShallNotBeInfringed said...

My hands were all shaky....I assumed from the coffee....nah it's a case of the IWANNIT's. I think they make it in .40s&w, too. I'll hafta check. Not too difficult to rechamber it into a .357 sig after that.......gotta do sumthin creative with all my spent .40 brass.

ShallNotBeInfringed said...

tee-hee....CAN get it in .40......

ShallNotBeInfringed said...

Mopar, since it's considered a rifle, and the regs only covers sales....you could possess/own one that you purchased legally in another state. It's always sunny in MOLON LABE-land!

Alan said...

It's interesting that the MSRP is $409 but I see them listed for $700 - $900 (or more).

Imagine the money Keltec could make if they'd actually produce enough firearms for everyone that wanted one.

Exurbankevin said...

Thanks Jay. I want this (and the RMR) so bad I can taste it.

Wally said...

Can I say that KelTec has to be the least compentent vendor on earth ?

I have had one they misshipped for MONTHS and they can't unscrew this situation. I am torn between charging them storage or just demilling it and handing it over to ATF.

LCB said...

Hmmm...this looks like a good survival-pack rifle...meatier than a .22 but taking up about the same space as the Henry AR-7 or the Ruger 10/22 take down. Ammo would be a lot heavier though. Hmmmmmm...

Erin Palette said...

The rotating railed forend is made by Red Lion Precision.

And I've asked -- no, they don't give away free samples for T&E.

JFM said...

I haven't seen one in a gunstore in the last decade, much less one at MSRP.

TigerStripe said...

Interesting review. Regarding ammo, Federal Hi-shok acts like FMJ in both water and gelatin. It simply passes straight through them. You may want to save money and just buy FMJ.

Gunnutmegger said...

It's now banned in CT.

Because CT legislators are power-hungry assholes.

Brad_in_MA said...

Hey all,

Brad_in_MA here. Couple of comments, at the risk of JayG banning me for life from his comments section.

For item 1, I can say without hesitation or reservation that Jay more than just uttered the "G, Jay G" bit when he removed the Kel-tec from its case. Item 2 takes us to the pistol range at my club, complete with steel plate rack and tree. In addition to the aforementioned, utterance, Jay also giggled with delight like a little school girl when he used the Sub2000 to knock all six plates and all six flags from the tree with a single magazine. If you've never seen a shaven-headed, six foot tall biker gun nut giggle like a wee lass when she gets her first rainbow-striped pony unicorn, well let me say that it is UGLY. I still shudder at the memory which is now forever burned into the depth of my psyche. No amount of brain-bleach is gonna work here.

Alas, the Kel-tec is a decent home defense carbine and makes for a fun time where pistol caliber carbines are allowed on one's pistol range.

Brad

ScribblersDad said...

I have a P3-AT and a PF-9, and have found Kel-Tec products to be sturdy and reliable, and a fantastic value. It REALLY makes me nuts that their products are impossible to find. I'd own a Sub-2000 and a PMR-30, and maybe even a KSG if I could find them, but they seem to introduce new "vaporware" on a regular basis. I've never even SEEN any of the ones on my want list!

That Guy said...

I have both the UZI and the Sub-200, and and I can say that the UZI does have one benefit over the SUB- Magazine cost. 32 rounders for the UZI (that work) are a lot easier to find and cheaper that 32 rounders for the SUB.

But they both have issues with attaching optics.

I love pistol caliber carbines, BTW.

JamesT Guns said...

Finally got my hands on new sub 2000 S&W 59 9mm. Unboxed cleaned and lubed with beretta oil then shot 130 round Federal 115gr FMJ to break in. Had 1-2 malfunctions per mag FFF and FFE (most commonly). Took home and cleaned again and extra CLP oil to extractor and bolt assembly. Left it for 2 night with bolt locked open. Felt this might compress recoil spring a little bit. Took to the range again 3 days later and shot 20 Federal Hydrashock 124gr and 50 Remington 115gr FMJ without one malfunction. Hope it's broken in. Didn't need to do a fluff and buff to bolt like some sites suggested. Very accurate at 25 yards from factory with no sight adjustments. 2 inch group on 12 yards with Federal Hydrashock 124 grain freehand. 115 gr opened up to 4 inches